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Middle Grade Books 2023

PRIDE in… Sports by Emilie Dufresne ​ill. Danielle Rippengill 

Sometimes being who you are can be a hard thing to do. Learn about people from across the LGBTQIA+ community who celebrate who they are and never stop fighting for what they believe in. No matter who you are, inside or out, this book is here to teach you that you can be proud of who you are.


Emilie Dufresne, Danielle Rippengill

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Team Pom: Squid Happens ​by Isabel Roxas 

Graphic novel – When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a mutual passion for synchronised swimming, the trio form Team Pom. But between snack time, their favourite TV show and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice. Tired of their last place, loser status, a crew of self-proclaimed weirdos start their own synchronised swimming club. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid in their local pool. Will he be the secret weapon they need to propel them into synchronised swimming super stardom? Or will they end up with ink on their faces? Who are the villainous strangers in bowler hats? And, most importantly, what’s for lunch?

You Vs The World: The Bear Grylls Guide to Never Giving Up by Bear Grylls, illustrated by Jason Ford 

Give the young person in your life the mindset they need to thrive.​
Kids today are presented with new challenges all the time. They face an uncertain future and are under constant pressure to thrive in an overwhelming and fast-paced world.​

This book retells Bear Grylls’ most extreme adventures in a kid-friendly way. He shares the life lessons he’s learned along the way, and how the skills needed to survive in the wild can be used in everyday life. From finding confidence to bouncing back from failure, Bear gives children the tools they need to survive and thrive in their own lives.

Game Changers: Women’s Football​ by Eve Ainsworth 

The History, the Stars, the Stats and the Goals! Think you know everything about women’s football? Think again! This book has everything you need to know about the beautiful game and all your favourite players and goals…

Young aspiring footballers will discover: the history of the game; meet amazing star players; learn your favourite players’ best moves; pick your dream team using any player throughout history; compare fact files and the stats that make these players the best in the game.

The Boy Whose Wishes Came True​ by Helen Rutter 

Archie Crumb is having a tough time. Picked-on at school, picked last for any team; his home has been sad and quiet since Dad left and his luck feels like its run out.​
But things start looking up when Archie bumps his head and literally sees stars: his favourite famous football player standing in front of him, granting him nine wishes.​

This is INCREDIBLE! Unlimited ice cream, a whole day of eating pizza and playing on the X-Box, revenge on the bullies, becoming the star player in a televised football tournament: finally, all his dreams can come true! Will Archie wish his way to happiness? Or will he realise that magic wishes may be wonderful, but only he has the true power to change his life?

Fall Off, Get Back On, Keep Going! by Clare Balding, illustrated by Jessica Holm 

‘Falling off’ is all part of life. The trick is to know how to dust yourself off, get back on, learn from your mistakes – and keep going!​ Clare Balding has had some falls in her life – from not fitting in at school and falling in with the wrong crowd, to live TV mistakes. With her own personal stories and from people she admires, children will discover how to develop courage in the face of tough situations. ​

With fun, quirky illustrations, the 10 chapters explore 10 character-traits ­- that can help children to learn to embrace their mistakes, own them, and move on from them.

Noodle the Doodle Wins the Day by Jonathan Meres ill. by Katy Halford 

Dyslexia friendly – Sports Day has arrived at Wigley Primary and everyone is excited to take part in unusual events like book balancing, frisbee tossing and seeing who can race in the most layers of clothes! Of course Noodle the doodle is desperate to join in all the fun, but when he gets a new partner-in-crime, Daniel the spaniel, are the canine capers going to spiral out of control or can Noodle win the day…?

The Funny Life of Football by James Campbell ​ill. Rob Jones 

Want to know why octopuses can’t play football? And how to play the game across multiple dimensions? How about learning the real rules of how football is played, why Henry VIII banned it, plus where it came from and who the greatest players of all time are?​ Whether you love a game of football, only enjoy the game from your sofa, or would sooner swim with sharks than play it, if you love to LAUGH – then this is the book for you!​

But be warned – this is NOT a normal book. You can read it forwards, backwards, sideways and in approximately 861,000 different ways in between. From comedian extraordinaire James Campbell, get ready to laugh your butt off to a silly book filled with funny stories, partly-true facts and hilarious pictures that will make you think twice about the game everyone thinks they know so well.

The Sky Beneath the Stone by Alex Mullarky

Thirteen-year-old Ivy North is an adventurer. She can pitch a tent in four minutes flat, knows the local landscape like the back of her hand, and she’s an expert map reader. There’s just one problem. She’s afraid to go outside.​

But when her little brother is transformed into a kestrel by a powerful sorcerer, Ivy is the only one who can rescue him. Following him through a mysterious hole in the garden wall, she emerges in Underfell – an enchanted realm that seems like the Lake District she knows but is dangerously different.​

Battling her dread of being out in the open, Ivy must gather all her courage to navigate a path across this extraordinary world, where powerful fairies with birds’ wings fly through purple skies and a ghostly spectre haunts her every step. With the help of an unexpected new friend, can Ivy break the spell — before her brother becomes a bird forever?

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor​ by Xiran Jay Zhao

Zachary Ying has never had much chance to learn about his Chinese heritage. So when he’s chosen to host the spirit of the First Emperor of China for a vital mission, he is woefully unprepared. As a result, the emperor botches his attempt to possess Zack’s body and binds to his AR gaming headset instead. ​

With the legendary tyrant yapping in his headset, Zack must journey across China to steal magical artifacts and defeat figures from history and myth. Using his newfound water dragon powers, can Zack complete the mission in time to save the mortal world?

The Amazing Edie Eckhart by Rosie Jones ill. Natalie Smillie 

From TV comedian Rosie Jones comes a sparky and hilarious series for 9+. ​

Hi! I’m Edie Eckhart. I’m a little bit different. I have a disability called cerebral palsy, so I talk slowly and fall over a lot. It’s never really bothered me because I’ve never known anything else. Why am I the only one who doesn’t know what to be when I grow up? Why am I the only one worried about going on the school drama trip? And why am I the only one who thinks eating 21 Brussels sprouts at once is yummy?‘​

Life’s confusing questions are making Edie wonder if she really knows who she really is. Will Edie realise it’s OK not to have all the answers all of the time … and just be Edie?

The Dog that Saved the World (Cup) by Phil Earle illustrated by Elisa Paganelli 

Pickles the dog and his owner Elsie love football more than anything. And they’ve just heard the most amazing news. The World Cup is coming home to England and Elsie’s team have a chance to play in a half-time match at Wembley – with some help from Pickles, of course!​

But life off the pitch is tough, even when Dad works hard to provide what they need. It’s their team of three against the world and right now it feels like they’re losing. So when disaster strikes and Elsie’s dreams of playing at Wembley are shattered, it’s up to Pickles to save the world (cup).

Ayeisha McFerran: Great Irish Sports Stars by David Caren 

‘It was down to Ayeisha now. If she saved the next penalty, Ireland, the tournament underdogs, would be in the final – for the first time ever.’​ Growing up in Larne in County Antrim, Ayeisha was fearless. If she wasn’t climbing trees, she was playing soccer, Irish dancing or throwing the javelin. ​When Ayeisha discovered hockey, she was hooked!​

The inspirational story of one of the best hockey goalkeepers in the world, who lost her mum at a young age, went into foster care, and found a home between the goal posts in the Senior Women’s Irish hockey team.

Booked by Kwame Alexander illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile 

Poetry/graphic novel – Twelve-year-old Nick is a football-mad boy who absolutely hates books. Football, family, love, and friendship take centre stage as Nick tries to figure out how to navigate his parents’ break-up, stand up to bullies, and impress the girl of his dreams. These challenges – which seem even harder than scoring a tie-breaking, game-winning goal – change his life, as well as his best friend’s.

Last Girl In: Kerry-Ann Fights to Stay in the Game by Cheryl Diane Parkinson 

Kerry-Ann loves cricket – it’s in her DNA – her Jamaican grandpa taught her to play as soon as she could hold a bat! Whenever she can, Kerry-Ann heads to the local club with her friends, including her best friend, Amardeep. But now some of the club’s older players in the elite First XI have decided that the cricket club belongs to them only and that Kerry-Ann and her team are not welcome. So Kerry-Ann devises a daring plan – a brilliant way to beat the bullies. And unbeknown to her, she’s about to get some very unexpected help with her battle.

A time slip tale with a touch of magic, Kerry-Ann experiences what life was like for her Jamaican grandpa when he first arrived in England – and discovers how to follow in his footsteps to continue playing the game she loves. A celebration of family, friendship, cricket, British Caribbean culture and women’s sport.

Rampaging Rugby by Robin Bennett, illustrated by Matt Cherry

Rampaging Rugby is the first in the Stupendous Sports series, which aims to do for sport what Horrible Histories did for Year 6 history with Mr Simkin! Full of cartoons, player tips your coach won’t tell you, irreverent explanations, fascinating facts and practical instruction. With a foreword and pro tips by former All Black, Conrad Smith.

All To Play For by Eve Ainsworth, illustrated by Kirsti Beautyman 

Lewis loves football more than anything else in the world, so he’s thrilled when his talent is spotted by a local coach. But there are some big obstacles in his way. His mum doesn’t want him to have anything to do with the game because of what happened to his dad on the pitch. And even if Lewis can persuade her to let him give it a go, there’s no way they can afford the kit. Can Lewis beat the odds to have a chance of following his dream?

The Taylor TurboChaser ​by David Baddiel 

A non-stop road-trip rollercoaster… with a twist. ​At its heart is the unforgettable Amy Taylor. Amy loves cars, and dreams of being a driver. But there’s a major catch: her slow old wheelchair with its broken wheel. ​

Rahul, Amy’s best friend and genius inventor, turns Amy’s new electric wheelchair into a supercar! And so, the Taylor TurboChaser is born. But when it all goes suddenly wrong Amy is going to have to hit the road and drive…

Key Player by Kelly Yang 

The Women’s World Cup is coming to California, and everyone has football fever ― especially Mia! But when her PE teacher gives her a C, Mia has to pull up her grade by scoring interviews with the championship teams. It’s not so easy… ​

As Mia aims for her goals, she’ll have to face strikers from all corners, as well as her own fears. But if anyone can find a way to win big, it’s Mia Tang. ​

The Young Cyclist’s Companion by Peter Drinkell​ illustrated by Thomas Slater 

Vincent and Grandma are on their way to the beach. As they get nearer to their destination, his excitement grows as he imagines riding on the roller coaster and other attractions! Will the day out meet his expectations? With thanks to Reach Charity and their members for helping us to ensure authentic representation of a child with an upper limb difference.

Game Changer: A Rocky of the Rovers Novel by Tom Palmer, illustrated by Elkys Nova

Graphic novel – The newly formed Melchester Women’s team are going from strength to strength in their first full season of professional football, lead by the tenacious Rocky Race. But behind the scenes, the morale of the club is low. After a shocking incident in a men’s European game, and the recent Race family tragedy, Rocky, her brother Roy, and the whole club is struggling to deal with the aftermath. What’s more, she’s fighting with Ffion her friend and there’s even talk of sending her out on loan!​

Can she maintain her match-winning performances? How is she supposed to deal with everything that’s happened? And just where does her footballing future lie?

A Beginner’s Guide to Ruling the Galaxy ​by David Solomons

It’s hard to crush your enemies when your homework’s due…

A brilliantly funny story of what happens when a galactic princess moves in next door and almost brings about the end of the world. Exciting new fiction from the bestselling, award-winning author of My Brother is a Superhero.​

Gavin’s got a new neighbour and she’s really annoying. Niki follows him everywhere, bosses him about, and doesn’t care that her parents will obliterate Earth with their galactic warships if she doesn’t stop running away from them. Can Niki and Gavin sort out the alien despots (aka Mum and Dad) and save the planet? Possibly. Will they become friends along the way? Doubtful…

Johnny Ball: Accidental Football Genius​ by Matt Oldfield, illustrated by Tim Wesson

Johnny Ball LOVES football. He loves reading about it, talking about it, watching it – and he loves playing it too. He’s a good player, but not quite good enough to make the Tissbury Primary School team for the super-huge Under-11s County Cup. But never mind, because their clueless coach, Mr Mann, has a special role for Johnny: assistant manager! With only Grandpa George’s old scarf, a ‘pocket’ notebook and his brilliant football brain, can Johnny lead the Tissbury Primary team all the way to County Cup glory?

Sunny by Jason Reynolds

When Sunny stops running in the middle of a race, Coach asks him what he wants to do instead. His answer is dance, but you can’t be on a track team and dance… can you? With his dad’s expectations weighing down on him, Sunny finally finds a track event that feels like dancing. But as he practices for this new event, can he let go of everything that’s been eating him up inside? ​

Part of the RUN series: Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. 

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