The best middle grade books to sweep you into another world

Sinéad O'Hart Author Of The Starspun Web
By Sinéad O'Hart

Who am I?

All my books (I hope!) sweep the reader into another world – it’s one of my favourite themes in the books I love to read, as well as write. When I was about seven, I first read some of the books which would shape my life, including Elidor by Alan Garner and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l’Engle, which brought me right out of my own life and into worlds as varied as the frightening interstellar realm of Camazotz and the battlefields of Elidor. I’ve been trying to capture that sense of ‘being swept away’ in my own work ever since.


I wrote...

The Starspun Web

By Sinéad O'Hart,

Book cover of The Starspun Web

What is my book about?

When Tess leaves her orphanage home for a new life with someone claiming to be a distant relative, she hopes to find answers to her mysterious origins. But on discovering the truth of her past, she realizes she is the key to a terrible plan that will bring destruction to her own world and beyond...

The books I picked & why

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Crowfall

By Vashti Hardy,

Book cover of Crowfall

Why this book?

All of Vashti Hardy’s books are brilliant, but I recommend Crowfall because Hardy creates an incredibly immersive world – the island of Ironhold – and characters including a mechanical sea monster, a pet robot, and a very brave boy named Orin. When Orin discovers his island is under threat, and ends up being put to sea in a rickety boat, how can he save his family and home? An unforgettable adventure.

Crowfall

By Vashti Hardy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crowfall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rip-roaring, island-hopping adventure - and unforgettable
ecological fable - from the award-winning author of Wildspark
and Brightstorm.
'Hardy has drunk from the same cup as Philip Reeve and Philip
Pullman.' - LITERARY REVIEW

Ironhold is an orderly place where "industry brings prosperity",
and where nature is pushed aside for progress. But when Orin Crowfall,
a lowly servant boy, learns that the island itself
is in grave danger, that knowledge makes him a target of
powerful forces.
He narrowly escapes on a small boat, but then faces a fight
for survival with his robot friend, Cody, in the stormy ocean,…

Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Volume 1

By L.D. Lapinski,

Book cover of Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Volume 1

Why this book?

L.D. Lapinski’s incredible Strangeworlds series will definitely sweep you into another world – into as many other worlds as you can count! Step into your suitcase and go on a journey to somewhere beyond imagining with Lapinski’s amazing cast of characters. When Flick stumbles into a dusty old shop and meets a young man named Jonathan Mercator, it’s the beginning of a life-changing adventure – across the multiverse – for them both.

Strangeworlds Travel Agency: Volume 1

By L.D. Lapinski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strangeworlds Travel Agency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Uncommoners #1: The Crooked Sixpence

By Jennifer Bell,

Book cover of The Uncommoners #1: The Crooked Sixpence

Why this book?

Bell’s Uncommoners series is set in a richly-imagined magical world where everyday objects have extraordinary powers – and when darkness closes in, Seb and Ivy Sparrow must race to uncover an Uncommon mystery before it’s too late. Featuring a talking bicycle bell, police officers armed with toilet brushes, and the incredible city of Londinium, these books will fling you straight into a thrilling adventure.

The Uncommoners #1: The Crooked Sixpence

By Jennifer Bell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Uncommoners #1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems . . .

Dive head first into the world of Lundinor in this magical adventure story for anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their life.

When their grandmother Sylvie is rushed to hospital, Ivy Sparrow and her annoying big brother Seb cannot imagine what adventure lies in store. Returning to Sylvie's house, they find it has been ransacked by unknown intruders - before a mysterious feather scratches an ominous message onto the kitchen wall. A very strange policeman turns up on the scene, determined to apprehend them . .…


The Girl and the Ghost

By Hanna Alkaf,

Book cover of The Girl and the Ghost

Why this book?

Alkaf’s book is, in her own words, ‘unapologetically Malaysian’. It also sweeps us into a mysterious, spooky, thrilling world, where a pelesit, a type of ghost bound to a person – in this case, a girl named Suraya – shows her that having your own familiar spirit might not always be fun. Pink (the name Suraya gives to her pelesit) risks pulling Suraya and itself into the darkness; can they save themselves, and one another? 

The Girl and the Ghost

By Hanna Alkaf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Girl and the Ghost as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Chosen as a 2020 Kirkus Prize Finalist for Young Readers' Literature! *

A Malaysian folk tale comes to life in this emotionally layered, chilling middle grade debut, perfect for fans of The Book of Boy and The Jumbies.

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother's legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn't know that pelesits have a dark side-and when Pink's shadows threaten to consume them…


Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

By Kwame Mbalia,

Book cover of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Why this book?

Talk about a story that pulls – or, rather, throws you headlong – into another world… Wow! This book features mythology, folk history (including brilliant portrayals of American folk heroes including John Henry and Brer Rabbit), and a boy named Tristan Strong. Tristan must face the powerful Anansi in order to stop chaos from taking everything he loves away from him. Can he do it?

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

By Kwame Mbalia,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in family secrets, adventure, and multiverse?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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