Tag Archives: diverse middle grade books

Episode 61: Censored Books in Middle Grade

The Mamas fight censorship and much more with the help of special guest, Staci Schwarz, who dazzles the Mamas with her witty book critique and the scrumptious details of her new Middle Grade Book subscription box. Listen in to get the deets. (Please ignore Margie’s violent tendencies. We’re blaming it on her new Hag-itude!)

Book Chat:

Attack of the Black Rectangles by A.S. King

Middle Grade Book Subscription Box:

Chapters Reading Club Book Box  

Next up on the Two Lit Mamas 2023 Reading Challenge:

Go on a grand adventure!

Episode 58: Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2

The Mamas are shopping again, and the books are piling up. This episode, our two favorite surly elves offer up gift buying guides for the Middle Grade (ages 8-12) and Young Adult (ages 13-18) readers in your life. So, eat until your fat pants are tight and then take advantage of Black Friday and Small Biz Saturday deals to snatch up some great books that will leave your big kids asking for more please, Oliver Twist style.    

Holiday Gift Guide:

Middle Grade (ages 8-12) books

Quest Kids and The Dragon Pants Gold by Mark Leiknes  

The Kwlade series by Emily Chenowith

The Confessions of a Dork Lord series by Mike Johnston

The Switch by Roland Smith

The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

The Secret Letters by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Odder by Katherine Applegate

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill

Spaceboy by David Walliams

Big Rig by Louise Hawes

Young Adult (ages 13-18) books

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy Lin

Once Upon a Broken Heart and The Balland of Never After by Stephanie 

Gabe in the After by Shannon Doleski

I Must Betray You – Ruta Sepetys

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Episode 56: MG Books to Read in the Dark

The Mamas celebrate spooky season with three books perfect for middle graders (ages 8-12) to read in the dark even if the two middle-aged Mamas read them in bright daylight (insert chicken noises here). The Mamas chat about witches, night beasts and ghosts. Oh my! And, debate if its okay to kill books by DNF-ing them. Listen in to find out who is a serial killer and who is a brain sucking zombie. 

Book Chat:

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

Witchlings by Claribel Ortega

The Clackity by Lora Senf  

Episode 54: Who Knew the End Times Could be Fun

The end is near unless a few resourceful and persistent middle grade heroes can stop the apocalypse in three fun books for 8–12-year-olds. For this episode, The Mamas have jumped into a big pile of raked up spooky season, careful not to spill their pumpkin spice lattes, to bring you their opinions on all things dystopian ­– just in time for Halloween. 

Book Chat:

Fenris & Mott by Greg Van Eekhout

It’s the End of the World and I’m in my Bathing Suit by Justin Reynolds

Apocolypse Taco by Nathan Hale


Pick 6: Our Fave Halloweeny Shows

  1. My Best Friend’s Exorcism
  2. Hocus Pocus 1 & 2
  3. Escape to Witch Mountain
  4. Halloween ‘78
  5. Sleepy Hollow 
  6. Tales from the Crypt 

Episode 53: Historical Hayride

The Mamas are dreaming of hot cider, apple pie and cool nights so join them on an historical hayride as they travel back in time to the not-so distant past (Can the 70s really be considered historical fiction?!?) and fall in love with fantastic, new historical fiction for Middle Graders (ages 8-12).

Book Chat:

Yonder by Ali Standish

Show Me A Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

Pick 6: More Great Historical Fiction for MG

Daring Darleen: Queen of the Screen by Anne Nesbet

Cookies & Milk by Shawn Amos

Pies from Nowhere by Dee Romito

Marika Marches for Equality by Salima Alikhan and Andrea Rossetto

Escape from East Berlin by Andy Marino

Escape from Chernobyl by Andy Marino

Episode 50: Summer Stories for Budding Environmentalists

The Mamas go all Eco Warrior this month with Middle Grade fiction (for 8-12 years olds) that is destined to inspire next gen environmental scientists and animal lovers. They get a little weepy discussing manatee injuries, great white shark invasions, themes of loss, and fantastic debut fiction authors. Then, the Mamas share 6 healthy screen time options for summer learning. Put on your Birkenstocks and join the fun! 

Book Chat:
Where the Sky Lives by Margaret Dilloway
Manatee Summer by Evan Griffith
The Line Tender by Kate Allen 

Pick 6: Screen Time Parents Can Feel Good About
www.savethemanatee.org 
www.nps.gov
https://www.epa.gov/students/games-quizzes-and-videos-about-environment
https://ypte.org.uk/topics/home-learning-packs
https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/marine-biology

Episode 49: Adventure on the High Seas

The Mamas dive into the big blue sea with Middle Grade (ages 8-12) seafaring fiction in this episode. Margie chases down her white whale while Heather dives for train treasure. Grab your snorkel and join the fun! We’re in vacay mode on the Two Lit Mamas podcast. 

Book Chat:

Arch of Bone by Jane Yollen

Treasure Tracks by S.A. Rodriguez

Pick 6: The Mamas’ Vacay Reads

  1. My Name is Red by Orham Pamuk
  2. A Passion for Killing by Barbara Nadel
  3. Turkish Delight Mystery Series by Mehmet Murat Somer
  4. The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill 
  5. Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
  6. Grown & Flown by Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington

Episode 47: Diverse Realistic Fic for Middle Grade

The Mamas may not sound like themselves in this episode but they’re serving up great diverse reads for 8 to 12 year olds just like normal. Heather even discovers a way to love Realistic Fiction while Margie’s just hoping to survive the Great Pollening. Join the Mamas for a fun chat and be grateful that the only thing contagious through your speakers are the laughs. 

Book Chat:

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee

The Night Bus Hero by Onjali Q. Raúf

Pick 6: 
The Mamas chat about 6 things they’re looking forward to this summer! 

Episode 46: Diverse Fantasy Books for Middle Grade

The Mamas are split over their MG Fantasy Reads (for ages 8-12) but it’s not surprising since Heather loves flying horses and all things magical while Margie would rather read true crime stories unless a Sasquatch is involved. Find out where your loyalties lie by joining the debate. Plus, you can jump start your summer reading with six great new recommendations for all ages from the Mamas. 

Book Chat:

Solimar by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the World by Samira Ahmed


Pick 6: Summer Reads for All Ages

Margie’s Picks:

  1. Lower Middle Grade: The Orphans of St. Halibuts by Sophie Wills
  2. Teen/YA: Just Our Luck by Julia Watson
  3. Grown Ups: A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers

Heather’s Picks:

  1. Preschool: Roar! I’m a Dinosaur by Merrill Rainey
  2. Middle Grade: Northwind by Gary Paulsen
  3. Grown Ups: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Episode 43: Middle Grade Biographies

The Mamas celebrate Women’s History Month in Episode 43, by sharing new middle grade biographies about fierce women: one covers an early 1800s highflyer and the other a 1960s Sci-Fi writer. Both books include detailed info of the dramatic times that influenced the women’s childhoods, making them perfect options for use in the classroom. The Mamas also share their favorite women authors of grown-up books. Believe it or not, they read those too.   

Book Chat:

Lady Icarus: Baloonomania and the Brief Bold Life of Sophia Blanchard by Deborah Noyes

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

Pick 6: Women Authors of Grown-Up Books We Love

Jennifer Raff

Donna Barba Higuera

Ruta Sepetys

Alissa Nutting

Melissa Broder

Elif Shafak