A Mixture of Middle Grade Must Reads

by Helen Byles

Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

  • Written and Illustrated by Rob Biddulph
  • Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Magic, friendship, art and danger, a fabulous combination for a new book aimed at children 8 years and above.

Peanut Jones loves drawing, to her it’s magic, watching how a tiny pencil stroke can change the picture. Stuck in a school she doesn’t like, a missing dad and her mum about to date her boss, her life is miserable until one day she finds a magic pencil that could change her life forever. This book is amazing, full of action, excitement and of course the pictures are fantastic. This is definitely a good book to enjoy over the summer, and definitely belongs in your library.


  • Written by Louie Stowell
  • Published by Nosy Crow

What can I say, this is my favourite book of the year, it is brilliant. 

We follow two children who are only really friends because they share the same birthday. They need to rescue a toddler who has been taken by the evil fairy queen, who wants to change the child into a fairy. Along the way they meet their fairy godmother,  but what is she hiding?

This had funny moments, a few sad moments, but also lots of adventure and magic. There are moments where we can all identify with the characters too. This book will leave you wanting more, much more.


  • Written by Vashti Hardy
  • Published by Scholastic. 

An action packed island hopping book.

A middle grade book at its best, it has adventures, characters you won’t forget and a powerful message about environmental issues. 

If you are a fan of Vashti Harry’s other books then you will love this one. When Orin Crowfall a young servant finds out his island is in danger it’s up to Orin to save everyone.

Edie and the Box of Flits.

  • Written by Kate Wilkinson 
  • Illustrated by Joe Berger.
  • Published by Piccadilly press.

If you are a fan of the Borrower’s then this is the book for you, and even if you haven’t heard of them too. Eleven year old Edie finds a box of Flits, magical winged people only children can see. Set in the London underground this is a story of friendship, family and noticing the small things in life. This is a 2021 must read.

Jane Austen Investigates. The Abbey Mystery. 

  • Written by Julia Golding.
  • Published by Lionhudson.

I loved the look of this book from the moment I saw the cover, with the mystery intriguing me from the offset through the scene depicted within the classic silhouetted female.

It follows a young Jane Austen growing up in the countryside, she’s sent to a wealthy woman, to be a ladies companion for a few weeks.

Whilst there she stumbles upon a mystery she can’t help but try to solve before she’s sent back to her family. 

This is a high quality text, with depth and detail that really do justice to the infamous Jane Austen, and introduce her to a new generation of readers, who will undoubtedly become huge fans following this book.

I would recommend this book to children Y5 and above, and feel that the reasonable length to the chapters encourage even the must reluctant of readers to try something new, outside of their comfort zone, and they will not be disappointed.

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