2017 Louisiana Young Readers Choice - Middle Grade

The Louisiana Young Readers' Choice program was founded in 1999 with the first award given in 2000. Participation in this program has climbed from 5,485 votes the first year to over 29,000 students participating in 2009. The purpose of the program is to foster a love of reading in the children of Louisiana by motivating them to participate in the recognition of outstanding books. Now entering its 16th year, the program continues to encourage Louisiana’s youth to read for pleasure.

Check out the middle grade nominations for 2017:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

This is the story of a set of twins, middle school basketball stars who are coached by their dad, a former NBA player. The boys are equally talented and work well together, but when a new girlfriend begins to split them apart, feelings of anger and jealousy develop. The novel, written in verse, emphasizes brotherhood and family bonds and has an unexpected ending that will shock the reader.

420 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.3  /  AR Points: 2.0

The Dirt Diary (The Dirt Diary Book 1) by Anna Staniszewski

Desperate to replace the money she secretly took from her college fund, thirteen-year old Rachel, an aspiring baker, grudgingly goes to work for her mother’s new cleaning business, which, to her embarrassment, includes the homes of kids she goes to school with, both friend and foe, making for some very awkward situations and some unexpected surprises.

256 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.7  /  AR Points: 7.0

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm

Eternal youth is not as glamorous as it may seem. Eleven-year old Ellie discovers this first-hand when her scientist grandfather moves into the house with her and her mother… in a thirteen-year old body. The very last thing Ellie needs when she’s already dealing with a distant friend and parents whose interests seem so different from her own is her grandfather attending the same middle school. Nonetheless, she must add this to her list of worries in this story that is ultimately one of humor, family, friendship, and finding one’s passion.

208 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.1  /  AR Points: 4.0

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

Main character Lucy has just witnessed her favorite teacher’s death and is struggling to accept her mother’s cancer remission. Needing to busy herself over the summer, she develops a plot to share her deceased teacher’s favorite summer reading selection To Kill a Mockingbird with as many people as possible. The story is full of tech savvy teens, humor and real life scenarios including relationships and social media.

166 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.1  /  AR Points: 5.0

Loot: How to Steal a Fortune by Jude Watson

March McQuinn and his father live a life most kids can only dream about, summer in Milan, winter in Spain, but there are problems too. March is often alone, waiting for his father to complete his latest heist. When the unthinkable happens, March is left with no one and ends up being taken back to America with a twin sister he has never met to live in a group home. When the twins begin to examine their father’s mysterious past, they find themselves on a bigger high stakes adventure than either has experienced before.

272 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.2  /  AR Points: 8.0

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Two Irish orphans make their way to work at a dilapidated manor house that the locals avoid at all costs. They soon realize the house holds a terrible secret that could be far worse than living on the streets. The siblings must unravel the dark and terrifying mystery before it’s too late to escape the reach of the Night Gardener.

368 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.9  /  AR Points: 12.0

The One Safe Place by Tania Unsworth

When Devin is forced to venture away from one of the few remaining safe places in a dystopian world, he is given what appears to be the chance of a lifetime, an invitation to the Gabriel H. Penn Home for Childhood. The Home seems like a paradise, but Devin senses that something isn’t right. Will he discover what foul play is lurking there in time to escape a horrible fate?

670 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.7  /  AR Points: 9.0

The Perfect Place by Teresa E. Harris

Treasure’s dad has left, again. He promised like always that he’d be back soon, but it’s been three months now. Before they can be evicted, Mom decides to pack up Treasure and her sister to stay with Great Aunt Grace (GAG, as the girls call her) while she searches for him. These two weeks will be horrible. What will the girls do with crotchety, grouchy old GAG?

272 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.4  /  AR Points: 8.0

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose’s father neither understands nor wants to understand her special needs, the result of her autism. Her father does not communicate well or have patience with her. Instead, it is Rose’s Uncle Weldon who teaches her to relate to “regular” life. When Rose’s newly found pet, a dog called Rain, is lost, it is Uncle Weldon who searches the area with her.  Ultimately he helps Rose to make the right decisions about her dog, even when the answers are not easy. This is a touching expose on the autistic world seen through the eyes of a young girl.

240 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.3  /  AR Points: 5.0

Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague

When Margaret O’Malley’s father is framed for murder and sentenced to death, she is prepared to do anything to prove his innocence. Thanks to her family inheritance, the ability to time travel, she feels certain she can discover and then change the beginning of the problem. However, she is more than a little surprised to find that in order to save her father, she must first save Lucas Biggs, the judge who sentenced him to death.

288 pages  /  AR Book Level: 5.7  /  AR Points: 9.0

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop

Tired of being crammed into a tiny hotel room with his mom, dad and brother, Davey escapes early one morning to a secluded beach. He doesn’t leave a note. Davey intends to enjoy the quiet and spend some time reading. However, the water is so beautiful. Disregarding the “No Swimming” sign, he decides to step into the water and instantly his whole world changes. Follow as this story unfolds and consider… what would you do if you were alone in the ocean, no one knows where you are, and you are surrounded by sharks?

224 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.6  /  AR Points: 6.0

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana

Armani lives with her family in a New Orleans community where she enjoys visiting the local donut shop. Her main thoughts swirl around her upcoming birthday party, but then the party is interrupted by the worst hurricane to ever make landfall in history, Hurricane Katrina. Is there any hope that her life will be the same again?

320 pages  /  AR Book Level: 4.7  /  AR Points: 11.0