The Kids Are All Right

Magic Food in Middle Grade Books!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

I hope everyone is having a lovely Daylight Savings Day weekend with lots of sunshine, puppies, and dessert. I am heading home from Florida today, where I was doing book events at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. It’s so sunny and warm here!

My ten-year-old daughter has been really into fantasy books lately, especially the Bliss series by Kathryn Littlewood. She read all three of the books in this series within a couple of days. In this middle grade book, Rose and her siblings are in charge of keeping the Cookery Booke, an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes, locked away while their parents are out of town. But when Aunt Lily arrives and whips up delicious dishes for dinner, it makes Rose and her siblings  want to experiment with just a couple of recipes from the forbidden Cookery Booke. There are three books in this series: check out A Dash of Magic and Bite-Sized Magic next!

Since she loved these books, I found some more books with magic food elements in the story for her. Love, Sugar, Magic is a wonderful series by Anna Meriano, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. In the first book in the series, A Dash of Trouble, Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Día de los Muertos festival. Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration, but once again she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake. The series continues with A Sprinkle of Spirits and A Mixture of Mischief.

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kat Saunders is a delightful middle grade book that is filled with magical chocolate and evil villains. Lily and Oz Spoffard have just inherited a magical house with a mysterious boarded-up chocolate shop on the ground floor. The twins’ great-great-uncles were famous chocolatiers, and their chocolate was ANYTHING but ordinary. In fact, it had magical properties. Now an evil gang is after the secret recipe, and it’s up to Lily and Oz to stop them. The fate of their family, and the world, depends on it. Also, that cat on the cover is everything.

Another magical middle grade is The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis. In this book, Aventurine is a brave young dragon ready to explore the world outside of her family’s mountain cave . . . if only they’d let her leave it. Her family thinks she’s too young to fly on her own, but she’s determined to prove them wrong by capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human. But when that human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, she’s transformed into a puny human without any sharp teeth, fire breath, or claws. Still, she’s the fiercest creature in these mountains–and now she’s found her true passion: chocolate. Check out The Girl with a Dragon Heart next!

One of our favorite kinds of books are the ones that include recipes in it! A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff is one of them (our favorite recipe is Viv’s Fudge Cake, which is one of those delicious gooey chocolate center concoctions). In this magical world, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born.  And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever.

I have one last book for you: The Magic Cake Shop by Meika Hashimoto, illustrated by Josee Masse. In this story, Emma Burblee is sent to spend the summer with her loathsome Uncle Simon. Although Emma’s days revolve around cooking and cleaning, there is one bright spot. Her uncle’s sweet tooth means she gets to visit the town bakery, Mr. Crackle’s Cake Shop, all the time. This world-renowned baker is as charming and kind as Uncle Simon is vile. But then Emma discovers a plot by Uncle Simon and one of his shady acquaintances; they’ve set their sights on ruining Mr. Crackle (and the entire dessert making industry for that matter). Can Emma stop their evil plan?


Around the web…

10 Middle Grade Graphic Novels for Fans of New Kid and Smile, via Book Riot

21 Fascinating and Fun Books Bilingual Children’s Books, via Book Riot

Q&A with Linda Sue Park, via Publisher’s Weekly


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at

Until next time!

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