Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! Middle Grade Book List for Summer Reading 2016

The books on this list are about sports, fitness, exercise, and self-confidence - all themes that connect well to this year's summer reading theme. Though some skew younger or older, the target audience for most of these is ages 8 to 12.

Soar by Joan Bauer
Due to a heart transplant, Jeremiah can't play baseball,  but when he discovers that his new school district is suffering in the aftermath of a steroids scandal at the high school, he decides to coach a middle school team and restore the community's love for the sport.

Double Reverse by Fred Bowen
Ninth grader Jesse has never seen himself as a quarterback, but when he is asked to step into the role, he finds it suits him better than expected.

Out of Bounds by Fred Bowen
Nate Osborne learns a valuable lesson from his aunt, a fellow soccer player, when he and his teammates on the Strikers become so hungry to beat their rivals they nearly lose sight of fair play. (Fred Bowen has many other sports titles that would also be appropriate for this year's theme.)

Strider by Beverly Cleary
In this sequel to Dear Mr. Henshaw, Leigh Botts enters high school, joins the track team, finds a dog, and falls in love.

The Cat Ate My Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
Marcie feels down on herself about many things, including her weight, but when her favorite teacher loses her job, she finds her voice and joins the fight to bring her back.

The Best Friend Battle by Lindsay Eyre
When Sylvie's best friend Miranda begins spending time with Georgie, a boy who always teases Sylvie on the baseball field, her jealousy causes her to make some poor decisions.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
When Astrid's best friend, Nicole, decides at the last minute not to attend roller derby camp, Astrid signs up anyway, using the sport as her means of learning how to stand on her own without Nicole.  (This book was awarded a 2016 Newbery Honor)

About the B'nai Bagels by E.L. Konigsburg
Mark Setzer is half-horrified half-amused when his mother becomes the manager of his little league team, but when he finds out some information that may undermine her hard work, he must decide whether to share it or keep it to himself.

The Toilet Paper Tigers by Gordon Korman
Scientist Professor Prendergast knows nothing about baseball, so when he takes on the job of coaching the Tigers, he leaves most of the work to his granddaughter, Kristy, who does her best to whip the hapless boys of the team into shape.

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner
Gianna has to finish her leaf project in order to remain on the cross-country team, but she finds it difficult to concentrate because she seems to be the only one who notices her grandmother's failing mental health.

Mason Dixon: Basketball Disasters by Claudia Mills
Disaster-prone Mason Dixon finds himself in an impossible battle against a rival team when his parents make him join a basketball team coached by his dad.

Breaking the Ice by Gail Nall
When Kaitlin, a promising young skater, loses her temper at a competition, she suddenly becomes a pariah in the skating world and must start over with a new coach.

Plunked by Michael Northrop
During the first game of the baseball season, sixth grader Jack is hit in the head by a pitch, which shakes his confidence and causes him to become terrified of inside pitches.

The Melting of Maggie Bean by Tricia Rayburn
After a few difficult months during which Maggie relied heavily on chocolate for emotional support, she is forced to join Pound Patrollers with her aunt. Though the meetings embarrass her, she finds the experience helpful for her secret plan to try out for the synchronized swim team. (This book is the first title in a trilogy.)

Guys Read: The Sports Pages, edited by Jon Scieszka
This collection of sports-themed short stories includes work from such favorite authors as Chris Crutcher, Tim Green, and Dan Gutman.

Jelly Belly by Robert Kimmel Smith
When Ned goes to a camp to help him lose weight, he and his new friends find it difficult to resist unhealthy snacks and seek a way to get healthy without giving up junk food.

There's a Girl in My Hammerlock by Jerry Spinelli
When Maisie Potter is cut from the cheerleading squad, she takes her entire school by surprise and joins the previously all-male wrestling team.

Ava XOX by Carol Weston
When Ava makes a poster of tips for losing weight for a friend, and then brings it to school, she finds herself in trouble with some older girls who find her words offensive.
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