Nightstand Reads: Author Will Taylor Shares Some Favorite Middle Grade Books

We’re delighted to have Seattle author Will Taylor, whose debut middle grade novel Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort came out last month, here to share with young readers and parents five novels he can’t wait for you all to read. But first, let us tell you a bit more about his novel: 

Maggie & Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort is “a rollicking good time” says Booklist (confirmed!) and “Ridiculously irresistible,” according to Kirkus Reviews (also confirmed). In this first book in a series, Maggie has eagerly waited for her best friend Abby to get home from Camp Cantaloupe, only to find that all Abby wants to talk about is camp things. When Maggie discovers that a pillow in the back of her fort mysteriously leads into the one Abby built, the two friends are just an arm’s length away — and set for adventure.

Here are five books Will LOVES:

Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh: Seriously Spooky Ghost Story
Full confession: I could only read this book during the daytime. It is legitimately scary, but in that addictive way, like food that’s too spicy but you just can’t stop eating. Twelve-year-old Harper gets the creeps from the minute she sets foot in her family’s new home, where something feels seriously wrong. But as she settles in and long-forgotten memories begin bubbling to the surface, Harper realizes the real mystery living in this house may be…herself.


Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender: The Character You’ll Fall in Love With
This is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve ever read. Caroline Murphy was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands during a hurricane, and sometimes it feels like it’s still blowing through her life. Now, at the age of twelve, she’s determined to find the mother she’s lost, an answer to the strange figures that only she can see, and a place for herself in a world that doesn’t seem to understand one single thing about her. Told in beautiful prose that is somehow both deeply lush and crystal clear, this book is an absolute treasure.

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano: The Book You’ll Wish You Lived In
Leonora, 11, is the youngest of five sisters, and she’s tired of being left out of their grownup world. But when she explores a little too far into the secrets of her family’s bakery, she discovers powers she never knew existed. Powers she discovers too late she shouldn’t be playing with. As her attempts to fix things go from bad to worse, Leonora will have to step up and find her own place in the family, and in the end uncover a power all her own. Hilarious, exciting, and full of mouth-watering food (plus recipes), this is a winner for anyone with a love of the magic of baking.

Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar: The Dreamy Escape (with Sharks)
Eleven-year-old amateur marine biologist Fidelia Quail is still reeling from the sudden death of her scientist parents—which may have been her fault—when she’s kidnapped by the world’s most notorious pirate. Turns out the pirate needs Fidelia’s expertise to recover a particularly important treasure, and she’ll need all her logic, nerve, and brains to survive when she realizes success or failure may both send her the way of her parents. A rollicking, sweeping adventure packed with science, lovesick pirates, treasure, librarians, savory stews, and yes, seriously massive sharks.

Listen, Slowly by Thanhhà Lại: The One You Will Never Forget
One of my top five books of all time, ever. Mai is twelve, and utterly and completely certain that she should be spending the summer at home in Laguna Beach, not helping her grandmother on a long visit to relatives in Vietnam. But rumor has it Mai’s long-lost grandfather may still be alive, and as her grandmother doggedly pursues the truth, Mai finds herself settling into a new feeling of home beyond all her expectations. Equal parts hilarious pre-teen drama, aching family saga, and love letter to the beauty of Vietnam, this book should have a place on every reader’s shelf, no matter their age.

Will Taylor is a reader, writer, honey bee fan, and former trapeze flailer. He has a degree in Sacred Architecture, a collection of Peanuts strips where Snoopy is on the phone, and an antique key he’s carried everywhere since he was ten just in case it’s magic. He lives in the heart of downtown Seattle surrounded by all the seagulls and nearly all the books. When not writing, he can be found hawking caramels for Fran’s or completely losing his cool when he meets longhaired dachshunds. Follow him on Twitter:  @InkAndHive.

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