Tag Archives: Middle Grade books

Episode 39: Pirates in Middle Grade Books

Arrrrr, the Mamas uncover buried treasure with three pirate-themed books for Middle Graders readers (aged 8-13) in the 39th episode of Two Lit Mamas Podcast. Their high seas discussions quickly freeze over with six tips for beating the winter blahs that don’t include walking the plank. Join them if you dare!

Book Chat:

  1. The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
  2. Dark Waters by Katherine Arden
  3. Pirate Queens: Dauntless Women Who Dared to Rule the High Seas by Leigh Lewis, illustrated by Sara Gomez Woolley


Pick 6: How the Mamas beat the winter blahs

  1. Lots of carbs, including homemade bread, French pastries, and pretzels. Yes, please!
  2. Get cozy with Danish Hygge and throw another log on the fire.
  3. Game the system with games.
  4. Embrace the Swedish mantra “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
  5. Murder in books, movies, TV shows and podcasts
  6. Make your family mission statement “Always Be Learning.”

Episode 38: Twisted Fairy Tales for Modern Middle Graders

For the first episode of the new year, the Mamas are kicking it at the back of the class, reading twisted fairy tales, passing notes about their latest obsessions (we’re looking at you Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum); while keeping their heads down and hoping to stay under the radar of Mrs. 2022’s evil glare. Come join the rebels in the back – this is your two-minute warning!

Book Chat: 

Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales by Soman Chainani

Pick 6: Our 2022 Obsessions

  1. Trashy Reality TV
  2. Bigelow Green Tea with Elderberry
  3. Maker Spaces & Loose Parts Play
  4. Welcome to Earth with Will Smith on Disney+
  5. The World According to Jeff Goldblum on Disney+
  6. Prepping for High School graduation

Episode 35: Middle Grade Horror

In the Halloween episode, the Mamas admit they share a brain (FYI, it’s kept in a jar in a mad scientist’s lab). How do they know they share a brain? Because they each picked a Middle Grade horror book from the same author without realizing it. Fortunately, they were creeped out in the best possible way by an author who’s the latest hot horror ticket. Plus, sinister cats! 

Book Chat:

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

Pick 6: More scary books for your MG devil babies

1. The Thirteenth Cat by Mary Downing Hahn

2. Root Magic by Eden Royce

3. The Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes

4. Nightbooks by J.A. White

5. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

6. Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

(Bonus) 7. Dark Waters by Katherine Arden

Episode 34: Latinx Heritage in Middle Grade

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, the Mamas are thrilled to share two Middle Grade books oozing with Mexican mythology and Día de los Muertos inspired adventures. So, gulp down some pan de muerto and grip your calavera while the Mamas make you cringe with fright (and hopefully not from their Spanish pronunciations). 

Book Chat:

Loteria by Karla Arenas Valenti

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera   

Pick 6: Latinx Children’s Books

  1. Board Books: La Catrina series
  2. Board Books: Life of series by Lil Libros
  3. Picture Book: Dreamer by Yuyi Morales
  4. Young Adult: Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
  5. Middle Grade: The Sea-Ringed World by Maria Garcia EsperonCurse of the Forgotten City by Alex Aster
  6. Chapter Books: Definitely Dominguita series by Terry Catasus Jennings

Episode 33: Middle Grade Books for Horse Lovers

Margie hates it but Heather’s inner horsey girl catches her stride in Episode 33 as the Mamas share their childhood memories of horses and explore Middle Grade books and resources in the horsey genre. The Mamas also get on their high horses and rant about banned books. Saddle up and hold on tight!

Book Chat:

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

The Compton Cowboys by Walter Thompson-Hernandez

Pick 6: Resources for Horse-Themed Learning Activities

  1. Horse Illustrated Online Magazine’s young rider tab
  2. The Equinest
  3. Horseloversmath.com
  4. Horsecrazygirls.com science fair horse project
  5. Przewalski’s Horse at the National Zoo
  6. Stacy Gregg’s Ponies A-Z

Episode 31: Middle Grade Books in Space!

In this episode, the Mamas get extra nerdy exploring the final frontier in the latest Middle Grade science fiction novels and short stories. So grab your communicators and listen in as they cover hermetically sealed post-pandemic apartments, talking heads, shape-shifting aliens, and murder on the moon.  Oh, it gets creepy, gross and dark, but you’re gonna love it.

Science Fiction MG Book Chat:
Cleo Porter and the Body Electric by Jake Burt
Moon Base Alpha Series by Stuart Gibbs
Weird Kid by Greg Van Eekhout
The Mortification of Fovea Munson by Mary Winn Heider

Pick 6: The Mamas favorite Sci-Fi short stories

  1. The Fermi Paradox is Our Business Model by Charlie Jane Anders
  2.  Kin by Bruce McAllister
  3.  Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler
  4. There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
  5. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  
  6. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson


Reference Links:
Rethink ELA

Episode 30: Book vs. Show: The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mamas don their Siskel & Ebert disguises and debate the pros and cons of the Mysterious Benedict Society’s new Disney+ series vs. the OG book series. Although you can probably guess what the lit-loving Mamas have to say (hint: the book is ALWAYS better), you might enjoy the Middle Grade series recommendations at the end, especially if you’re in love with Mr. Benedict and his society of kid geniuses, like two middle-aged spies we know (yes, we’re talking about the Mamas).    

Book Discussion: 

The Mysterious Benedict Society Disney+ Series

The Mysterious Benedict Society book series

 Pick 6: If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, the Mamas recommend these series

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Artemis Fowl

Mr. Lemoncello series

Sisters Grimm

N.E.R.D.S.

Savvy, Scrumble & Switch

Episode 29: New Middle Grade Fantasy Books

The Mamas’ fantasies are flying in Episode 29 with two hot Middle Grade fantasy picks. Following the book chat, the Mamas share six more MG fantasies from their TBR Lists for 2021. So, if animals talk to you, you should listen in because you’re in good company, or at least not alone in your fantasy world!

 Book Chat:

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aiden S. (as told to his brother) by David Levithan

Pick 6: MG Fantasies from the Mamas 2021 TBR lists

  1. The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book (A Greenglass House Story) by Kate Milford
  2. The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Colman
  3. Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera
  4. Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliot
  5. The Anti-Book by Raphel Simon
  6. Arlo Finch Series by John August

Episode 28: Kid Entrepreneurs in MG Lit

Two of the Mamas’ fave authors (yes, ones from the Franzia List) are back in the book chat with financially-focused Middle Grade characters who discover how to run a business and manage money in the most fantastic settings. Listen as the Mamas WERK IT, doing what they love—chatting about great Middle Grade Lit and natural disasters (yes, they get waaaay off topic).

Book Discussion:

Middle School’s a Drag You Better Werk by Greg Howard

Millionaires for the Month by Stacy McAnulty


Pick 6: The Mamas break down their worst jobs and their best work moments

The Worst:

1.     Pushing corpses to the crematorium

2.     Making the donuts

3.     Wrecking a house with two little kids

4.     Ruining wedding gowns

The Best:

5.     Making a golem with Philip Glass

6.     Making $400 on Mother’s Day and spending it all on clothes


Show Reference Links:

Lunch Money by Andrew Clements

Lawn Boy and Lawn Boy Returns by Gary Paulsen

Lemonade Wars series by Jacqueline Davies

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill

www.lemonadeday.org

Episode 27: Books with Middle Grade Cooks

Find out what’s cooking in Middle Grade lit as the Two Lit Mamas drool­–err–chat about the latest novels with kid bakers and chefs. If you aren’t hungry now, you will be by the time the Mamas finish dishing their foody opinions and kid-friendly recipes. Bon Appetit!

 Book Discussion: 

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

All You Knead is Love by Tania Guerrero

A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Pick 6: Kid-Friendly Recipes

1.     Soft Pretzels

2.     Baked Alaska

3.     Fruit Sauce & Fruit Soup (Fruktsoppa)

4.     Stuffed Grape Leaves (Margie might die if we share this recipe)

5.     Homemade Pizza Dough

6.     Avocado Pasta