Monday, May 8, 2017

Yay For Middle Grade Books! Guest Post From Jess Keating

Today I'm happy to present a guest post from Jess Keating! Ms. Keating is the author of the MG series My Life is a Zoo, and multiple non-fiction picture books including the upcoming Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist, which releases June 6th.

Here's her guest post! :)

Five Middle Grade Books for the Animal Lovers Out There by Jess Keating

Hey world!

I’m thrilled to be here today to share some middle grade novels that I’ve loved this year. As a zoologist and author, I find that books with animals have a special place in my heart. I hope these titles find their way into yours, and I would love to hear any of your new favorites in the comments too!

THE RAT PRINCE by Bridget Hodder

This book is a new take on the classic Cinderella story, and it stars typically unloved creatures—rats! Creative, fun, and a great spin on an old tale. You’re going to love these rats, guys.

PAX by Sara Pennypacker

I won’t spoil this one, except to say LORDY HAVE YOUR KLEENEX READY. A truly beautiful story about love and loyalty.

ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson

The author of this book is a musher herself, so you know this story about dog sled racer, Victoria, is going to be jam-packed with action and adventure. I loved this one, and it would be perfect paired with a warm cocoa. (Or maybe crank up your A/C in these spring months!)


You know from seeing the words “Kate DiCamillo” that you’re in good hands, right? This is the story of a squirrel whose brush with a vacuum cleaner gains him superpowers. Seriously. It sounds weird. But it’s SO GREAT. Add it to your list!


Does this one count as an animal book? I’m going to say yes, because it includes a tiny dragon and a swamp monster. Really, the Newbery sticker on the cover of this one says it all, but I will add that this is a book that totally snuck up on me and surprised me in the very best way. It’s beautiful, funny, thought provoking, and has a timeless feel.


I know, totally awful to add my own book to the list, right? BUT! Let me defend myself here! I wrote this book because I wanted to live out my childhood fantasy of living in a ZOO. It’s full of animals and elephant poop, and even has a loudmouth parrot that often ruins the day. You’re welcome!

Now to you, readers! What are your favorite animal novels? Share them in the comments!

I really need to read the ones on your list that I haven't already! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Keating for participating in this event! :)

Author bio: As a zoologist turned middle grade and picture book author, Jess Keating has been sprayed by skunks, bitten by crocodiles, and been a victim to the dreaded paper cut. Her MY LIFE IS A ZOO series earned two Kirkus stars, a Red Maple nomination, a Rocky Mountain Book Award nomination, and a spot on the LA Times Summer Book Pick List. Her quirky nonfiction picture book series kicked off with PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH, with a sequel, WHAT MAKES A MONSTER? to release in 2017. Her first picture book biography, SHARK LADY, will also be published in 2017. You can find her on Twitter @Jess_Keating, or on her website

Here are a few links:

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