I know many of our blog readers write for middle grade readers, so I wanted to share one of my favorites. 

Now in an effort for full disclosure, Kathi Appelt has been one of my best friends for a very long time. We first met just after she sold her first picture book and I was starting to dream of writing and publishing.  I won't say how long ago that was, but that first book, ELEPHANT'S ALOFT, was published in 1993 (You can do the math).  We've shared many life events over the years and publishing was one of the them, but not always the most important at the time.   There were kids to raise and parents to mourn.  There were illnesses, job changes, moves and so much more.  Through it all that writing dream persevered and eventually flourished.

Since that first book sale so many years ago, Kathi has rocked the publishing world. Two time National Book Award Finalist. Newbery Honor Award Winner. Texas Distinguished Writer.  And so many other awards and honors.  She is an amazing writer, but she is an even more amazing friend.

TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGARMAN SWAMP is a National Book Award finalist.  I was lucky enough to read this manuscript early on and then to see it in again in it's final version.  It was like taking a master writing class.  A complicated story, with multiple characters and storylines, SCOUTS is a delight.  Each character is fully developed with their own unique traits and desires.  Even the setting becomes one of the characters with Kathi's rich description and attention to incredibly specific detail.  I also highly recommend listening to the audio version of the book.  It's narrated by another good friend of Kathi's, Lyle Lovett.

From the author's website:
Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts.

Book Trailer


This sounds like a delightful book. Can't wait to read it!

I'm tinkering with an MG right now, so this rec comes at the perfect time… Thanks Donna, looking forward to buying this one! (Also, that book cover is GORGEOUS!).

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