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In case you couldn't come to our Brunch with a Bookseller featuring Julia, Deb, and their favorite middle grade reads, we've compiled the list of recommendations for you! More of Deb's staff picks can be found here, more of Julia's staff picks can be found here, and you can check out our calendar of events here.
Stargazing charts the friendship between two very different girls learning to be friends and it hits all the right notes. Jen Wang is truly a queen among graphic novelists! Her art and storytelling speak to such intimate parts of the characters, but with tremendous whimsy and grace. Her drawings are fun, evocative, beautiful, and playful. I cannot recommend this book (or her first, The Prince and the Dressmaker) more highly! —Julia
After nearly drowning, Cass has gained two things: a best friend who happens to be a ghost, and the ability to enter the spirit world. But when Cass meets another girl with the same ability, she learns that the world is more complicated (and haunted!) than she’d thought. Full of both adventure and heart, this is a wonderfully spooky read for young readers and adults alike! —Kelsey
This heart-warming debut novel introduces 12-year-old Lolly Rachpaul, a young man still reeling from the gang-related death of his beloved older brother. He is desperately searching for a way to deal with his grief, and to avoid the pressure to join a gang. He remembers his love of building with Legos, and starts to design his own city. This leads to an unexpected friendship that helps him find a way past his grief. We see realistic depictions of Lolly’s Harlem neighborhood which can be harrowing, but I is also filled with families that are just trying to do their best for their children. This wonderful book deserves all the kudos it has received, and more. A film version will be coming out with Michael B. Jordan at the helm. —Deb