2022 Middle Grade Must Reads – May (Part One)

Ajay and the Mumbai Sun

  • Written by Varsha Shah
  • Illustrations by Sonia Albert
  • Published by Chicken House

Ajay was dumped in the slum as a baby, he is known as a Mumbai railway kid.

He sells  newspapers to make money but his dream is to be a journalist. 

He and his friends are lucky enough to get the chance to set up their own newspaper and the children are on the lookout for some stories. 

While looking for stories the children must fight corruption,  fight for justice and battle to save there slum.

This has been written by debut author  Varsha Shah who won a competition run by publisher chicken House to have her book printed,  and what a wonderful book this is.

You get to feel the heat of Mumbai, the hunger of the friends,  their despair over their slum being knocked down. You feel their excitement over the cricket. 

This book has a wonderful cast of diverse characters and the illustrations bring the book to life.

The Accidental Diary of B.U.G. – Sister Act

  • Written and illustrated by Jen Carney
  • Published by Puffin

This is the third book in the series. 

It carries on straight after the second one ends.

As we all know Billie is adopted and has two mums. When we left the second book the mums had decided to adopted another child, Billies biological mum is expecting another baby and wants this baby to go to Billie and her mums. 

So we follow Billie through the adoption process, but of course with Billie everything doesn’t run smoothly and we watch as Billie causes all sort of mischief. 

As well as going through the adopted process Billie finds herself in the school play, you would think that this all would keep Billie busy but one she still has time  to help her great nan reunite  with her long lost sister. 

There are so many laugh out loud moments that you won’t want to put the book down. 

I love this series, its fresh, modern and because we see everything through Billies eyes to get to experience the adoption process from her point of view.

The Sky Over Rebecca

  • Written by Matthew Fox
  • Published by Hodder Children Books 

Stockholm during a long winter, when Kara notices an snow angle with no footprints near by, she can’t forget it, and she’s unable to leave it alone until she discovers the answer. 

Turns out two worlds have collided and soon Kara is friends with Rebecca and her brother Samuel. But they are from WW2.

A true bond of friendship begins and Kara discovers magic all around her. But she must act fast to find her friends some where they can be safe.

This is a truly beautiful book with lots of side stories happening at the same time. Kara must deal with loneliness, bullying and the fact that her beloved grandfather is ill and doesn’t have much time to live.

This story will stay with me for a very long time.

The Mapmakers

Written by Tamzin Merchant

  • Illustrations by Paola Escobar
  • Published by Puffin

This is the sequel to the amazing book The Hatmakers. 

The Hatmakers was one of the first MG books I ever read, I remember thinking how good children’s books were.

My first thoughts were when I picked this up was how wonderful the front cover was and what a talented illustrator Paola is. Loads of children and adults will pick this up because of the cover. I really loved the map in the book and the list of illustrations in the book is a wonderful idea.

This follows on straight from The Hatmakers, chapter one gives you a recap of what has already happened. So it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the first one yet.

Main character Cordelia is still looking for her father,  she is following a map hoping it will lead to her fathers boat The Jolly Bonnet that disappeared 2 months previously. 

This is a amazing book to read, and it’s wonderful to have an inspiring heroine.

The Last Firefox

  • Written by Lee Newbury

Charlie hasn’t got long before he starts high school, for most children this is a scary time, but for Charlie this is going to be worse, Charlie finds life scary and his not looking forward to it. Charlie lives with his two dad’s, both dad’s have different personalities so their family works well.

His dad’s are in the process of adopting a sibling for Charlie, and Charlie is doing his best to be brave for his sibling. Charlie is also being bullied. 

While out minding his own business Charlie accidentally becomes guardian to a firefox  Cadino.

Now, Cadino is special because he’s the last remaining firefox, and he has a hunter chasing him. Charlie must find some bravery to protect him. Charlie needs to find his feet and discover his inner courage. 

There has been some amazing debuts in 2022 and this is another one. This has everything you need in a book. 

This book is fast paced, engaging true to life with a sprinkle of magic.

This book will show you the power of magic, this helps you to empathise with childhood anxieties. 

It did also leave me wanting my own firefox!

Check out some more must read recommendations I reviewed in April here.

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