Summer Reading Challenge – A Middle Grade Update

Much like lots of you I am determined to read as much as possible over the summer break – not least because my list of books I want to read grows longer with each calendar month we enter! So, I am seizing the opportunity to combine my determination to enjoy some reading with the Summer Reading Challenge run by The Reading Agency, and will use a fortnightly update right here on my blog to motivate me to ticking off books from the official challenge book list that I have enjoyed along the way.

If you want to familiarise yourself with the official book lists you can find them here –

Picture Books

Early Readers (5 to 8yrs)

Middle Grade (8 to 12yrs)

This update will detail titles from the Middle Grade official book list I have read, and would definitely recommend others giving a read. The selection is varied so at to try and appeal to as many readers looking for suggestions as possible. The Summer Reading Challenge is hands down the best way of getting children to maintain regular reading over the summer break, keeping children occupied whilst rewarding them with unforgettable adventures.

Anisha Accidental Detective by Serena Patel

Anisha Accidental Detective is the first in a new series by debut author Serena Patel, featuring a young BAME lead character – Anisha, who along with her best friend are left to investigate the kidnapping of her soon to be uncle, and prevent her Aunt’s wedding being ruined. The second title is due for publication on 3rd September and is titled Anisha Accidental Detective School’s Cancelled. The books stunning illustrations can be credited to Emma McCann.

The Cure for a Crime by Roopa Farooki

The Cure for a Crime is a story that follows twins Tulip and Ali, who have a surgeon for a mum, and an amazing gran that likes to ensure they are safe and sensible whilst growing up. They call upon their gran for support when they become concerned about their mum becoming seemingly more and more tired after spending time with her boyfriend. The twins know some medical knowledge having been around that narrative from when they were small, and know that their mums behaviour to be of concern, and gran agrees. There are different aspects to this story that will appeal to a variety of readers, from those looking for medical details to feature in their choice of fiction, to problem solving, adventure, family bonds, and backstory to characters that involve escaping war torn countries and survival. This is a brilliantly written title that offers readers some much appreciated, fun, and different content to usual middle grade stories.

Dragon Detective Catnapped by Gareth P. Jones

Dragon Detective Catnapped – A thoroughly enjoyable read that has humour threading through the story, notable from the very offset when the Dragon Detective accidentally causes significant damage to his office just by trying to answer the phone! When a young girl calls the detective agency looking for help finding her missing cat the dragon is reluctant to get involved, particularly as he does not like working with children or animals, but the young girl is persistent, and what follows is a most peculiar mystery for the duo to solve. There are real laugh out loud moments making this an unforgettable read, and as this is the first title in the Dragon Detective series readers are able to enjoy further titles such as the June publication School’s Out!

My Parents Cancelled my Birthday by Jo Simmons

My Parents Cancelled my Birthday by Jo Simmons with illustrations from Nathan Reed is a funny book to enjoy, telling the story of a young boy called Tom and how he is determined to have a birthday party to remember, and one that out shines anything his friends have ever had. But one disaster after another means Tom is unlikely to have an amazing, expensive party, and he might well end up remembering his birthday for all the wrong reasons instead! There are some incredibly funny scenes throughout the book that provide readers with the laugh out loud moments they need more than ever. My review of the book can be read by clicking on the title.

I had fun using the book sorter resource on the Summer Reading Challenge website, to see what it recommended after I had specified themes and topics I was looking for within children’s book titles. These titles are listed as follows

  • Jolly Foul Play : A Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  • Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  • Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

I am excited to try these titles, especially as I haven’t read them – something I cannot say about many children’s titles since taking on blogging in 2018, and with being a primary school librarian.

To use the book sorter for suggestions of books to enjoy beyond the official list click here.

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