12 BOOKS SET ON THE FARM by CJ and Elza from Middle Grade Carousel

Today at MG Book Village we’re featuring a great list of middle grade recommendations for August all about the barnyard from CJ and Elza from Middle Grade Carousel.

Hello from Middle Grade Carousel! We’re CJ and Elza, a mother-daughter blogging duo who love all things middle grade.

Although we’re both readers, CJ and I don’t always want to read the same book. This inspired us to start our own reading challenge, where we pick a theme and run with it! In looking for books that fit our challenges, we often discover new books that maybe we wouldn’t have noticed or tried before.

Today, we’re here to share a dozen books inspired by our theme this August. From prize-winning pigs and powerful poultry to fields of creepy scarecrows and crops with a mind all their own, farms hold plenty of possibility for everyday adventures, extraordinary discoveries, and creature comforts. We hope you’ll read and explore along with us!



Sharon Creech

Lower Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction/Novel in Verse

When their family moves from the big city to rural Maine, Reena and her brother, Luke, are recruited by a kooky neighbor to help care for her menagerie, including a stubborn beltie cow named Zora.



Kelly Jones

Middle Grade, Magical Realism

Sophie and her family inherit Blackbird Farm from her recently deceased great-uncle. Moving in and learning how care for a farm is more work than they expected. Especially when Sophie realizes Uncle Jim’s chickens are far from ordinary.



Tamara Bundy

Middle Grade, Historical Fiction (1940s)

Pixie feels she’s been cursed with bad luck. Her family’s been torn apart by loss and illness, and she’s not getting along with her classmates at school. With no one else to turn to, Pixie takes to caring for the farm’s newest resident, a runt lamb named Buster.



Liesl Shurtliff

Middle Grade, Fairy Tale Fantasy

Jack gets into trouble when he’s bored, which means he’s in trouble a lot. Life on the farm isn’t very exciting. That is, until his father is carried away by an unusual force of nature. With the help of his sister, Annabella, Jack takes on the adventure he’s always wished for.



N.D. Wilson

Middle Grade, Portal Fantasy

When his parents go missing, Henry York is taken in by his aunt, uncle, and many cousins in rural Kansas. A bump in the night leads to a mysterious discovery in the farmhouse attic that tuns his quiet new life upside down all over again.



Katherine Arden

Middle Grade, Speculative/Horror

Upon rescuing an old book and receiving a cryptic warning, Ollie reads a chilling tale of feuding brothers and a mysterious “smiling man”. Her class’s field trip to the farm reveals spooky similarities to the story, but when their bus breaks down on the way home, it’s too late to get out before nightfall.



Kathleen Van Cleve

Middle Grade, Magical Realism

Polly Peabody lives on a magical rhubarb farm where jewels appear in the soil, bugs can talk, and rain falls every day at precisely 1:00 P.M. without fail. When things go awry and the rain stops falling, Polly decides to investigate.



Cindy Baldwin

Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

Della Kelly’s family is struggling. The farm is in trouble, and mama’s condition is taking a turn for the worse. In hope of finding a cure, Della decides to ask the Bee Lady for a jar of honey rumored to work like magic.



E. B. White

Lower Middle Grade, Classic/Magical Realism

Born a runt of the litter, Wilbur was raised by the farmer’s kindhearted daughter, Fern. Moving into the Zuckerman’s barn is a big step for the little pig, but he soon befriends the other animals, including an intelligent spider named Charlotte.



Joy Cowley

Lower Middle Grade, Humor/Magical Realism

Semolina is a sassy and spirited chicken, but only Josh knows she can speak. When eggs begin to go missing from the henhouse, Semolina has a birds’ eye view of the culprit, but Josh has a hard time convincing anyone to listen to her advice.



Jacqueline K. Ogburn

Middle Grade, Magical Realism

When Eric Harper encounters Chinaberry Creek’s much-rumored “white deer”, he discovers the magic that’s been hidden away right next door. What was once his grandmother’s farm is now a veterinary hospital for magical creatures, and Dr. Brancusi is willing to share its secrets with Eric.



Betsy Hearne

Lower Middle Grade, Magical Realism

A careless wish turns Louise Tolliver’s brother, Willie, into a pig. Unfortunately, this isn’t their first—nor last—brush with trouble. With her father missing, neighbors conspiring, and magic mixing everything up, Louise and her mother must keep their wits about them while searching for a spell to make everything right.

If you’re ready for more farming fun, join us at Middle Grade Carousel. Our reading challenge for the month of August is Barnyard Bookshelf (https://elymnifoquent.com/2020/08/01/mgcarousel-august-2020/)!

Elza Kinde is a designer of graphics, writer of fiction, reader of Middle Grade, nerd for words, and maker of bad puns. She celebrates her many hobbies and passion for creativity on her personal blog at ElzaKinde.com. (https://elzakinde.com/)

C. J. Milbrandt is a lifelong bookworm with a love for fairy tales, far-off lands, and fantasy worlds. Her family-friendly stories mingle humor and whimsy with a dash of danger and a touch of magic. She is a moderator on the Great Middle Grade Reads (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/71883-great-middle-grade-reads) group on Goodreads. You can also find her at CJMilbrandt.com (https://cjmilbrandt.com/).

Together, this mother-daughter duo run Middle Grade Carousel, a blog designed to make reading fun with a variety of games and challenges for middle grade readers of all ages. Learn more at Elymnifoquent.com (https://elymnifoquent.com/)!

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