Ali's Middle Reader Picks

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419715976
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Amulet Books - March 31st, 2015

Rutabega is a small chef with an enchanted cauldron looking for his next big adventure in cooking! Fun and lively illustrations combine with funny dnd-esque stories. Think Adventure Time meets Iron Chef in this funny graphic novel perfect for kids (or in my opinion adults too).

Séance Tea Party Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984894151
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Random House Graphic - September 15th, 2020

Lora doesn't want to grow up like the rest of her friends all seem to want to do, so she decides to find herself a new friend by holding a seance tea party, hoping that a friendly ghost will come along. Well, she's in luck as it leads her to her new best friend, the ghost who haunts her very own home. This is a sweet story about friendship, growing up, staying young, and moving on.

Al Capone Does My Shirts (Tales from Alcatraz #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142403709
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Puffin Books - April 20th, 2006

It's 1935 and Moose Flanagan has just moved to Alcatraz, where there are only 23 other kids. His father works for the prison and his mother works as a piano teacher all so his sister Natalie can attend a special school that can care for her, since she has a mental disability (autism, which hadn't been recognized in the 1930s). What's a kid stuck on a rock with mostly prisoners supposed to do? Make friends with Al Capone? This is a moving story about families, with a cool dose of history thrown in.

Howl's Moving Castle (World of Howl #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064410342
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Greenwillow Books - August 7th, 2001

Sophie is the eldest of three, which means she has no hope of suceeding at a great destiny, but what is she supposed to do when she's turned into an old woman by one of the most feared magic users in the country? A fairy tale about a feisty young woman who learns that destiny isn't always what you expect, and magic is sometimes more trouble than it's worth. I have loved this book since I first picked it up from the SFPL around the age of 10, and I have reread it multiple times as I got older (and purchased my own copy that is now battered from so many rereads).

The Phantom Tollbooth Cover Image
By Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780394820378
Availability: Available to Order
Published: Yearling - October 12th, 1988

The Kingdom of Wisdom is in trouble! Rhyme and Reason, the two princessess who should be ruling have been exiled and it's up to Milo to get them back. But Milo isn't from the Kingdom of Wisdom, and his surprise visit was due to extreme boredom and a mistakenly mailed tollbooth that he drove through on a whim. Hopefully with the help of his new friend Tock (a watchdog with a large clock that only ticks) he can make his way safely through the Kingdom of Wisdom to save the day! A book that is as much for adults as it is for kids, you'll learn and grow with every reread.

Turtle Boy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593121573
Availability: At the Store Now
Published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers - May 5th, 2020

Will is an extreme introvert who is bullied for his chin and just wants to stay in his room taking care of his turtles. His bar mitzvah is coming up though and on top of the terror of having to make a speech in front of a crowd he has to do a community service project in a local hospital (a place that terrifies him) with a boy who he doesn't like. Will he be able to get over his fears and step out of his shell? This was a moving and heartfelt story about a young boy with a lot of anxieties who learns about friendship, self-image, and trying new things.

Dark Lord of Derkholm Cover Image
ISBN: 9780064473361
Availability: Backordered - No Estimated Arrival Date
Published: Greenwillow Books - April 10th, 2001

Mr. Chesney's Pilgrim Parties have ravaged the land, bankrupted most of the people, and forced everyone, from wizards to kings to dragons, to do his bidding so he can make money. He is in control of a powerful demon, but if Derk (the newly appointed Dark Lord for this year) has to

The Time of Green Magic Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534462762
Availability: At the Store Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - July 28th, 2020

Abi and her new stepbrothers have just moved into a new house, covered in ivy and right behind a cemetary, when strange and magical things start happening. Abi starts literally getting lost in her stories, Louis has made a new friend with the large cat (or is it a cat) that wandered into his window one night, and Max is having to deal with his two younger siblings and their new problems on top of an argument with his best friend and falling in love. Is their new house magic?