Paul Griffin’s newest middle grade novel, When Friendship Followed Me Home, is a beautiful book. By turns funny, sad, sweet, and thoughtful, it surprised me over and over. The story follows former foster child Ben Coffin, a Coney Island kid who’s used to getting picked on and who prefers hanging …

Extraordinary Sam & The Adventurer’s Guild is a fun, action-packed novel that’s a great summertime read for middle graders. We caught up with Kevin and asked him about his enthusiasm for adventure stories. Middle Grade Mafia: Have you found that the book is most popular with a certain group of readers? Kevin Springer: …

Lisa Lewis Tyre’s debut middle grade novel Last in a Long Line of Rebels launched in September, 2015 with starred reviews. I asked her about her launch experience as well as what happens after the launch. MGM: So, now that you’ve experienced the book launch, was there anything unexpected or would do differently for your …

Jennifer Lewis

Middle Grade Mafia reads a lot of books and we think we have  good taste in children’s literature, but what do we know? We’re adults. Children’s books are supposed to appeal to children. We wanted to know what kids like to read and why .From time to time, MGM will be interviewing the real experts in children’s literature…the media specialists.

Our first “From the Stacks” interview is with Jennifer Lewis, the media specialist at Indian Knoll Elementary in Canton, Georgia.

Middle Grade Mafia: How long have you been a media specialist? Why did you choose that career path?

Jennifer Lewis: This August, I will start my twentieth year of teaching and sixth in the media center.  I enjoyed being a classroom teacher, but I pursued my school library degree because my true calling is in the library.  I love exploring new technology and helping teachers use it in their classrooms, collaborating with teachers to plan engaging lessons, and of course sharing great books with students!  I believe that I have the best job in public education!

 MGM: What are some of the most popular series/authors with your students? And why do you think these books have such appeal?

JL: My students love: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans, Maximum Ride by James Patterson, Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis, The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, NERDS by Michael Buckley, Warriors by Erin Hunter, The Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell, and Bone by Jeff Smith.  All of these series are either humorous or full of action.  This is what my students are looking for in a great book series!

 MGM: Is there a series or author that you wish your students would read but they don’t seem interested?

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Congratulations on another book birthday for our Mafia friend, Tricia Springstubb. Her latest MG novel, Every Single Second, (Blazer & Bray, HarperCollins) launches today. “Every Single Second” is the story of two girls whose friendship has dwindled but whose ties remain deep. When one of their brothers is involved in a …

There are witches in eleven-year-old Rupert’s modern world, real witches with cauldrons and spells. They are all dangerous, according to his mother. She warns him to stay away, so of course, he ignores her. What else is the poor boy to do? He is desperate for an adventure to take …

The Middle Grade Mafia has read a number of books for our reviews, but none were like Mike Lowery’s Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! In this fun interactive book, kids have been recruited to help Carl the Duck, who happens to work for a super secret agency, to …