Ms. Nyman’s Top Middle Grade Picks for November 2020

Dactyl Hill Squad

Written by Daniel Jose Older

“From New York Times bestselling author Daniel Jose Older, the astounding new series that blends history and fantasy like never before – It’s 1863 and dinosaurs roam the streets of New York as the Civil War rages between raptor-mounted armies down South. Magdalys Roca and her friends from the Colored Orphan Asylum are on a field trip when the Draft Riots break out, and a number of their fellow orphans are kidnapped by an evil magistrate, Richard Riker.” – Scholastic, Inc. (publisher)


Written by Kaela Noel

“In this exceptional debut, one young girl’s determination to save the flock she calls family creates a lasting impact on her community and in her heart. Gorgeous and literary, this is an unforgettable animal story about friendship, family, home, and belonging. For readers who love books by Kate DiCamillo and Katherine Applegate.” – Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (publisher)

Shouting at the Rain

Written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

“From the author of the New York Times bestseller Fish in a Tree comes a compelling story about perspective and learning to love the family you have.” – Nancy Paulsen Books (publisher)

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Written by Celia C. Pérez

“When three very different girls find a mysterious invitation to a lavish mansion, the promise of adventure and mischief is too intriguing to pass up.” Kokila (publisher)

Letters from Cuba

Written by Ruth Behar

“Pura Belpré Award Winner Ruth Behar’s inspiring story of a young Jewish girl who flees Poland on the eve of WWII and makes a new life for herself in Cuba, while she works to rescue the rest of her family–based on Ruth’s family history” – Nancy Paulsen Books (publisher)

The Peacock Detectives

Written by Carly Nugent

“Perfect for fans of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and Waiting for Normal, this charming middle grade mystery is full of heart, humor, and more than a few surprises.” – Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (publisher)

The Girl Who Rode a Shark:  And Other Stories of Daring Women

Written by Ailsa Ross

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent and to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.” – Pajama Press, Inc. (publisher)

Selena: Queen of Tejano Music

Written by Silvia Lopez

“This is a moving and impassioned picture book about the iconic Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla, that will embolden young readers to find their passion and make the impossible, possible!” – Little Bee Books (publisher)

World of Glass:  The Art of Dale Chihuly

Written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

“His crew calls him Maestro. Thousands of fans call him a magician. Over the past five decades, Dale Chihuly (b. 1941) has created some of the most innovative and popular works of art in museums and gardens around the world…Lavishly illustrated with Chihuly’s art and family photographs, this book discusses Chihuly’s workshop and his glassblowing technique. The book includes a step-by-step look at how blown glass is created, a list of places to see Chihuly’s artwork, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.” –  Abrams Books for Young Readers (publisher)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude:  Through the Gates and Beyond

Written by Jan Greenberg

“In 1981 two artists — Christo and Jeanne-Claude — proposed an installation in New York’s Central Park that would span twenty-three miles. They received a 185-page response from the Parks Department that could have been summed up in one single word: “no.” But they persisted. This biography of contemporary artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude is a story of the power of collaboration, and vision, and of the creation of the spectacular Gates and other renowned artworks.” – Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press (publisher)