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


Written by Brad Sell

“For fans of Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward and Raina Telgemeier’s Smile comes an inventive new story from Cardboard Kingdom creator Chad Sell about a group of young artists who must work together when one of their own creations becomes a monster.” – Alfred A. Knopf (publisher)

A Place at the Table

Written by Saadia Faruqi & Laura Shovan

“A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.” – Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (publisher)

Chance: Escape from the Holocaust

Written by Uri Shulevitz

“From a beloved voice in children’s literature comes this landmark memoir of hope amid harrowing times and an engaging and unusual Holocaust story…By turns dreamlike and nightmarish, this heavily illustrated account of determination, courage, family loyalty, and the luck of coincidence is a true publishing event.” – Farrar Straus Giroux (publisher)


Written by Varian Johnson

“Coretta Scott King Honor author Varian Johnson teams up with rising cartoonist Shannon Wright for a delightful middle-grade graphic novel!…Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there’s nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?” – Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic (publisher)

All’s Happy that Ends Happy

Written by Rose Lagercrantz

“It’s spring and Dani is going to Rome for her father’s wedding. But Ella is not invited; Dad said no. What will Ella think when she learns she hasn’t been invited to her best friend’s dad’s wedding? In this final book in the acclaimed My Happy Life series, the road between Dani and Ella is getting longer and longer. Dani must make sure their story ends happily.” – Gecko Press (publisher)

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure

Written by John Rocco

“Everyone knows of Neil Armstrong’s famous first steps on the moon. But what did it really take to get us there?…This exquisitely researched and illustrated book tells the stories of the 400,000 unsung heroes–the engineers, mathematicians, seamstresses, welders, and factory workers–and their innovations and life-changing technological leaps forward that allowed NASA to achieve this unparalleled accomplishment.” – Crown Books for Young Readers (publisher)

Marie’s Ocean: Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea

Written by Josie James

“A picture-book biography of Marie Tharp, a pioneering scientist and the first person to ever successfully map the ocean floor.” – Henry Holt and Company (publisher)