Some backlist middle-grade books don’t get as much love as they deserve. Typically, once the pub day frenzy is past, these titles get forgotten, almost like their worth depends on their publication date! None of that around here.
But what do I mean by “backlist books”?
back·list | \ ˈbak-ˌlist
: a publisher’s list of books published before the current season and still in print.
For my lists, I’ll be focusing on books published at least one full year prior. Pstt, many backlist titles are often less expensive than new releases (which you should definitely still purchase if you can) and readily available at your libraries.
I try to read and review past titles once in a while and often, many of them are SO GOOD. Some older titles I’ve read and reviewed include:
- The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
- Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
- Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn
- What Momma Left Me by Renee Watson
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess
I found this book when I was looking for books like Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. This book about a deaf girl bonding with an older hearing woman in the midst of adjusting to a newly blended family really caught my attention.
I Am Drums
This is a book I stumbled upon while researching my books about music list. It features a girl so passionate about drumming that she makes a few poor choices to get past her parents’ constant arguing and her school’s budget cuts.
Jen has to move from the city to the country when her mom moves in with her new boyfriend. She’s also not excited to gain two new stepsisters — and on top of that she has to deal with farm chores? I’m trying to read more farm books and I love that this is a graphic novel with such relatable themes.
We Could Be Heroes
A young middle grade book featuring a boy with autism, the fierce girl who befriends him, and the cute dog (who has seizures) that they work to rescue. This one is perfect for kids who enjoy books about animals and friendships.
I started this one this past weekend and it’s the first book in a series. This book follows a shy girl, Emmie and how her life intersects with the live of popular girl (and exact opposite), Katie.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora
This one has been on my radar FOREVER! It sounds so community oriented and it’s also about saving a family restaurant. It gives me strong Stef Soto vibes.
Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom, & the Challenges of Bad Hair
I ADORED Payne’s The Thing About Leftovers and I was hungry for that voice again, so I got this on Kindle Unlimited. 5th grader Lula Bell is dealing with bullying, family issues, and a talent show — all while trying to be herself. It already sounds so charming to me.
Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle
Ana Maria Reyes has lovey-dovey parents and three rambunctious sisters (plus one more baby on the way)! She’s sure that she getting a scholarship into a posh private school will get her out of their tiny apartment and give her something of her own. I love books about big families and I’m always happy to read books by Latin-American authors.
I just finished my first Gordon Korman and I’m ready to put another one on my TBR. This one is about a bully who loses his memory and can’t figure out why all the kids are equally scared of him and kinda mad at him. I love that Korman’s book perfectly skate the line between believable and ludicrous.
I loved Woodson’s Before the Ever After and I’m finally now motivated to read this book about six kids who meet weekly to discuss their life challenges.
Which of these backlist middle-grade books have you read and loved? I’d love to know where to begin! Want more backlist goodness? Check out this list I made last September. If you’re on the hunt for new/forthcoming middle-grade books, check out this list of 91 middle-grade books to read in 2021!
My favorite was Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, but I also loved Harbor Me. You can’t go wrong with either of them.
Afoma Umesi says
Oooh I’ve great many lovely things about MACY! It’s definitely higher up my list now 🙂 thank you
I loved Restart. I liked Harbor Me, but it is not my favorite of her books.
Afoma Umesi says
I’m really looking forward to Restart!