6 Awesome Middle Grade Dads

In honor of Father’s Day, lets celebrate our favorite middle grade dads, whether they be biological, adoptive, or living only in our memories. Many of us have a special bond with or memory of our dads, which has forever shaped us. My own Dad takes a lot of pride in doing things himself, and as I’ve grown older I find myself appreciating those same traits. He is also really great at backing a motorhome into any size campsite. These middle grade novels all feature special relationships with fathers, be they god, mortal or somewhere in between. No matter who they are, or what they do, let’s just all agree that we’re pretty lucky to have these guys in our lives.

The Hidden Oracle (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #1), by Rick Riordan
Zeus is the father of Apollo, who just happens to now be trapped in the body of a regular New York City kid. That, on its own, is amazing and inspiring and everything that a dad/son story should be. Parents aren’t always easy people to get along with, I admit it, but when your dad happens to be the head honcho of all Greek gods, the stakes are that much higher. In another wonderful series from Rick Riordan (you’ve heard of Percy Jackson, perhaps? Magnus Chase, maybe?) kids pull out all the stops to save the world, prove their worth, and earns some serious brownie points for their otherworldly parents. Zeus is no one to mess with, and he knows it! Plus, he gives Dad Bods a good name.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II, by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
This whole series is jam packed with awesome dads, and The Cursed Child is set to be another great addition. Fans get reintroduced to Harry and Ron, this time as fathers to young Albus and Rose, who are embarking on their first year at Hogwarts. With their own awesome examples of fatherhood (Arthur Weasley and James Potter), as well the slightly reckless influences of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin over their childhoods, it will be fun for fans to see what kind of fathers these two have become. The even more pressing question may be: what kind of father is Draco, and does Scorpius follow in the Malfoy family footsteps.

Pinocchio, by Carlo Collodi
In this classic story, Pinocchio lets his mischievous ways lead him astray from his loving adopted father, Geppetto (with more rule breaking and adventures than the movie, and also more heart and more love between Pinocchio and Geppetto). Readers also get a chance to think on what makes a family: is it birth, or is it unreserved love, or some combination? Pinocchio eventually learns to behave, attains some much needed-bravery, and finds that the one person who has always been true to him is his very own father.

The Little House series (9-Book Boxed Set), by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Garth Williams
Pa, father to Laura Ingalls, is the perfect example of a pioneer days dad. He works his tail off all day in the the fields, or goes hunting, or sugaring, but he still has the time to teach his kids the life skills they need to survive on the frontier. Laura lovingly remembers all the nights he played the fiddle, the careful way he did his farm work, and the bravery he showed even when things got tough. Whether they are out riding horses, taking their first train ride, or raising the walls of a new home, Pa is absolutely a guy who should be celebrated on Father’s Day—but he definitely doesn’t need a tie, or a mug with golf jokes on it.

Song of the Deep, by Brian Hastings
In this soon to be released book (and video game!) twelve-year-old Merryn lives with her father, who is a deep sea fisherman. After a terrible storm, Merryn worries that he is lost at sea. Thanks to the courage and imagination that her father fostered in her, she builds her own submarine to find him. While traveling the ocean, she learns that her father’s many deep-sea legends just might be true, and also that she is stronger, braver, and smarter than she ever believed. Sometimes a father’s love, support, and encouragement can send us out on the most amazing journeys.

Captain of the Ship (American Girl Beforever Series: Caroline #1), by Kathleen Ernst, Juliana Kolesova, and Michael Dworkin
The American Girl books always have great, multidimensional relationships between their parents and their kids. Whether it is Molly’s dad being deployed during the war, Kit’s dad trying to work through the Depression, or Addy worrying about her dad as he escapes slavery, there is no shortage of important fathers. One of the most standout dads has to be Caroline’s father, the proud ship builder who is taken hostage in 1812. Caroline is so inspired by her father’s love of sailing and his ship building business that she can’t help by stray back to Lake Ontario at every opportunity. She braves the lake, and the British, in an attempt to rescue him, all because of their strong, reciprocal love.

What stories do you love to share with your dads?

Originally Published with Barnes and Noble

5 Series For Young Readers Who Can’t Wait For Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo Series

 

Rick Riordan knows how to craft an otherworldly adventure that spans space and time, with mythical heroes, and storylines that celebrate the power that comes from learning about who you are and what you are capable of. Riordan’s page turning novels, from his Percy Jackson series to his Magnus Chase series, are essential middle grade reads (and fun for adults, too!). To help keep the adventures going even when you’ve finished his current canon (and while you’re waiting for The Hidden Oracle to drop on May 3!), hook your young reader on a few of these other adventure-filled series and help them welcome in a new year of reading!

Secret of the Forbidden City (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Treasure Hunters Series #3), by James Patterson, Chris Grabenstein, and Juliana Neufeld
In the third and most recent installment of the Treasure Hunters Series, the Kidd siblings continue their rapid around the world adventures to save and find the greatest treasures imaginable. Now they are off to Egypt and China to find priceless art stolen by the Nazis. Fast paced, filled with action, and loaded with cool historical and geographical features from every country, the Treasure Hunters series is a classic, page-turning, highly illustrated adventure that young readers will love.

Kingdom Keepers Boxed Set: Featuring Kingdom Keepers I, II, and III, by Ridley Pearson and Tristan Elwell
This sci-fi Disney themed adventure novel series seriously has something for every reader. Love danger? Wonder how movie villains who have come to life through technology might sound? Ever dream of getting trapped in the park overnight and fighting to save the Magic Kingdom? Each book gives you the sense that this could really happen to you, which just makes the adventure more fun for readers who want to be fully absorbed in the story. Fans who dig this series will definitely want to check out the first novel in the new Return series Disney Lands (Kingdom Keepers: The Return Series #1).

Warriors Box Set: Volumes 1 to 6: The Complete First Series,by Erin Hunter
Hunter’s spellbinding series tells the story of several clans of wild cats who have long shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors—until a new player, an ordinary house cat, steps in and changes everything. With a richly developed world, unforgettable characters, and tons of imagination, this series is especially perfect for animal lovers.

Wings of Fire Box Set, Books 1-5 (Wings of Fire series), by Tui T. Sutherland
After years of war between dragon tribes, a prophecy tells of five dragonets who will end the bloodshed and choose a new queen. Drama, intrigue and action follow as everyone takes sides and fights for what they believe in. Fans of the mythology and fantasy aspects of Riordan’s books will feel right at home in Sutherland’s world of Pyrrhia. This box set is a great starter for those new to the series, and longtime fans can pick up the newest novel, Escaping Peril (Wings of Fire Series #8), in stores now.

Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka and Phil Noto
If you’ve just seen the Star Wars: The Force Awakens, happen to love a thrilling space saga, or just want to get young fans of the film franchise to lose themselves in a book, there are a number of great new middle grade novels that fit the bill perfectly. Each story in the Journey To Star Wars series follows a character who has to deal with their past, live up to their potential, and take on overwhelming odds (like Riordan’s heroes!). The novels Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure,  Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, and Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure, follow the beloved characters from the original trilogy, while the newest book, Star Wars The Force Awakens: Before the Awakening introduces readers to the stars of the new film. Kids and adults alike will want to unwrap any and all of these, no doubt.

What adventure series are also beloved by the Percy Jackson fan in your house?

Originally published at www.barnesandnoble.com on January 21, 2016.