May Middle Grade Pick of the Month

Middle grade is a term that refers to books written for readers between the ages of eight and twelve. In this column, Erica will recommend great books for children in this age group!

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor by Xiran Jay Zhao
Library Catalog: Print
Libby: eBook and eAudiobook

Zachary Ying has been struggling to fit in at school – hard to do when you’re one of the only non-white kids. But any worries about that are immediately overwhelmed when Zachary’s mother’s soul is stolen – and he gets possessed by the spirit of the first emperor of China! Swept up into a quest with the other emperor-possessed children, the deadline looms for Zachary’s mom – and for the fate of the entire world.

The story flies by, keeping the reader engaged with not only a fast-paced plot, but great character development, beautiful imagery, and history described through the lens of tongue-in-cheek pop culture jokes (while also recognizing the horrors that were and are inflicted on others).

Check out the book that Publisher’s Weekly Annex Reviews described as an “action-packed,” “educational, reflective…thrilling” and “fantastical read” with “compact history lessons” and “ plentiful pop culture references”; School Library Journal Reviews praised as “a creative, engaging story” with a “dynamic plot, video game lingo, and creative characters”; and Kirkus Reviews called a “science-fiction/fantasy mashup [with] relentless action” and “levels up legendary Chinese mythical heroes and folklore into a thrilling adventure with video game appeal.”

Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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