Change and new beginnings are popular topics for middle-grade books, so there’s a wealth of titles to choose from. A new favorite that springs to mind is The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy. This is a great title for 3rd through 5th graders, especially readers who love realistic fiction that examines change among siblings.
The lives of the four Fletcher brothers are followed over the course of one year. Sam, age 12, is the soccer star who suddenly finds himself auditioning for the school play. Jax, age 10, is caught between childhood and adolescence as he notices his friends beginning to “act cool” and notice girls. Eli, also age 10, is finally going to the gifted school, but is he really fitting in? And Frog (real name: Jeremiah), age 6, is highly imaginative and starting school for the first time.
Levy packs a lot into this book, and most of it is successful. Sports fans will enjoy the sport-centric Fletchers, and the blended multicultural family aspect (all four boys are adopted into a same-sex household) is nicely introduced. This is an entertaining, yet realistic read that is a great transition away from chapter books and into more meaty novels.